Leading a Multi-Unit Enterprise, Part 2
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Leading a Multi-Unit Enterprise, Part 2

Leading a Multi-Unit Enterprise, Part 2

This is part 2 of “Leading an Enterprise,” which ran in the previous issue. Part 1 covered the importance of establishing a hierarchy, having an open-door policy, and creating a strong support team. Part 2 covers the importance of teamwork, driving the culture, delegation, and follow-up.

As the leader of an enterprise, there are certain things you must do every day to keep your organization going in the right direction. Below are some more of the things that are often overlooked, but that can make a big difference in the success and harmony of your business.

Teamwork

In a multi-unit organization, you can quickly create a divide of “us versus them” between the field operations and the support team in the administrative office. As the support team grows and you have more stores, it is important that a spirit of teamwork is created between the two. One cannot exist without the other, and no one is more important than the other regardless of pay and title. Everyone has a role in the success of the organization they all belong to. Building that understanding, belief, and culture will be very important to minimize issues and to foster care and open communication between them.

Drive the culture

It is important that every organization has a well-thought-out charter with a vision, mission, and guiding principles. If that charter is followed, it will take the company where you want it to go. Then your job is to drive it to the lowest levels of the organization. Only then will the ship move in the direction that you need to accomplish your goals.

Culture does start at the top, and if you don’t lead with your charter you cannot expect your team to. Make sure to constantly check yourself against your charter (mission, vision, guiding principles). If you are a role model of what it’s like to live the charter, then you have the moral right to expect others to do the same… but not before that.

It will not be an easy task. It will not be easy for you to live the charter, and it will be even more difficult to drive it into the organization. But with hard work and relentless commitment it can be done.

Delegation

As the leader of a large organization, you are now more responsible to delegate and not to execute. In order to still ensure that things happen almost as well as if you had done them, you have to follow this process every time when you delegate:

  1. Define the task - Clearly define what task you want to delegate. You need to define what the task is, how you want it to be done, the timeline by which it needs to get done, and what tools need to be used to get it done.
  2. Chose the right person - Not everyone is good at everything, so when you choose the person to delegate a task to, make sure they have the capabilities to do it. For example, don’t ever give me something to memorize because I will fail miserably, but give me anything that requires numbers and I will excel at it.
  3. Train the task - Before you delegate any task, make sure that the person knows exactly how to do the task. Train them and retrain them if necessary.
  4. Delegate - Make sure that the person you are expecting to take over the task is clear that from then on they are solely responsible for the outcome of that task, and that they will be held accountable for getting it done. Sometimes leaders assume that a person knows they “own” it and that person is surprised when they are held accountable for it.
  5. Follow-up - Just because you followed the steps above doesn’t mean that the task will get done. It is imperative that you do the proper follow-up to ensure it does. (More on this below.)

Notice that I said that things will get done almost as well as if you had done them. You will have to give up the idea that people will do things the way you do or as well as you would—first of all, because everyone does things a little differently, and second because no one will ever care as much as the owner does. The reality is that the only way for this to happen is for you to do everything yourself. However, you will not be able to do it and live to tell the tale. So, give up on perfection and embrace excellence. After all, perfection is in the eye of the beholder, and I will argue that some people will be able to do the job better than you.

Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up

The magic is always in the follow-up! The power and magic of follow-up cannot be understated. Anyone can build plans, provide direction, and give clear instructions on what they want done. Not everyone has the ability to do the necessary follow-up to make sure things happen. If there is no follow-up, the chances that those plans will come true the way you want them to are near zero; the more follow-up, the higher the probability.

As the leader and franchise owner you are ultimately responsible for providing the necessary follow-up on every task in the organization to make sure it gets done. Notice that this doesn’t say you have to do the task; instead it says that you have to do the follow-up to make sure it got done. So, the next time something important doesn’t get done, you may want to think to yourself…

  •  Did I properly define the task?
  •  Did I choose the right person?
  •  Did I do the proper training?
  •  Did I make it clear that they were responsible?
  •  Did I do the proper follow-up?

If the answer is “no” to any of the above, then you are responsible, not the employee.

Recommended books

Being a leader is not easy. It also comes with a lot of responsibility, and if you do it wrong, the future of your organization is at stake. I am a student of the art of leadership and, as such, I read a lot. These are some of the books I would recommend to leaders of multi-unit organizations:

  •  The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership—John Maxwell
  •  Leadership and the One Minute Manager—Ken Blanchard
  •  How To Become a Great Boss—Jeffrey J. Fox

This is an excerpt from Multi-Unit Mastery: Transform Your One-Unit Franchise Job Into a Successful Multi-Unit Enterprise, by Aicha Bascaro and is used here with permission from the author.


Aicha Bascaro is the founder and CEO of the American Franchise Academy. She started as a delivery driver and, through the years, was promoted to area supervisor, franchise consultant, director, and brand vice president. She ran a multi-unit/multi-brand organization for a franchisee and built her own prototype brand. She has directly managed multi-unit organizations from 7 units up to 63 units in 3 states, has worked in domestic and international operations, and has lived in 14 countries in her career. Contact her at aichab@afamail.com.

Published: June 22nd, 2023

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